Does Prayer Change Things?
James 4:3 – When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Do you talk to God? When you do talk to God, is it about your desires, seeking approval for what you already plan to do or are you seeking what God desires for you?
1 Samuel 28:15 – Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”
God had torn the kingdom out of Saul’s hands because he was prideful and disobedient. Saul’s prayers were not answered because he had not followed God’s previous directions.
Psalm 66:18 – If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
True confession requires us to listen to God and to want to stop doing what is wrong. When we refuse to repent or when we harbor and cherish certain sins, we place a wall between us and God.
Proverbs 28:9 – If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.
God does not listen to our prayers if we intend to go back to our sin as soon as we get off our knees. What closes God’s ears is not the depth of our sin, but our secret intention to do it again.
Just as Saul had been prideful and disobedient to God, Jonah decided to rebel and disobey God’s specific directions to him; however, Jonah was in for the ride of his life.
Jonah 1:17 – But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 2:1, 10 – From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
What was the difference between King Saul and Jonah’s prayers? Jonah was thankful that he had not drowned and that he had escaped death. Jonah’s prayer was effective because he had an attitude that was completely dependent on God. King Saul turned to a medium, which God had strictly forbid.
1 John 5:13-15 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of him.
For your prayers to be answered, first, you must be a believer. Second, what you are asking must be in line with God’s will for you. Third, you must not pray with selfish motives. God does not grant anything that harms and hurts us or others or that would violate His own nature or will. Fourth, your request must be for the good of God’s Kingdom. Fifth, you must not hold a grudge against another person. Finally, you must have faith in God.
James 5:16b – The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.